Blakes Hotel, London

LobbyIf I had to live for an extended period of time in any London hotel, I'd choose Blakes, one of the world's first boutique hotels and this super cool global design journey with a main theme of Asia: India, China, Thailand. Furnishings and decor were collected from all over the world by Anouska Hempel.  The bar and restaurant are super sexy, exotic, and cozy as they're small and hidden away downstairs.  The restaurant even has fans made of feathers from rare birds.  You can just picture rebellious, glamorous Princess Margaret having a drink, and she loved Blakes (Duchess Kate has been spotted in the bar as well) In the lobby are two green lovebirds in a wrought-iron cage welcoming you to Blakes.


As you can see from the photo above, it is perfectly situated on a South Kensington street, in one of my favorite London 'hoods with great restaurants and shopping.  You are totally tucked away in a place that feels like home but you've got the glamour and service of a top hotel.  The building took over several Victorian townhouses  The first thing I noticed was the scent of Blakes, not overpowering at all, but a subtle, intoxicating smell.  I was lucky enough to take one of their candles home.  I want my entire apartment to smell like Blakes. The rooms are all different and fabulous, from dark and dramatic to light and airy.  So hard to choose a favorite, but the take-me-away, white Corfu suite evoked a perfect beach vibe which I loved.

Dresser in the Corfu SuiteCorfu Suite Bed Corfu SuiteI (almost) always trust Goop and Gwyneth is a fan too - In Goop, she wrote "For awhile, Blakes was my home-away-from home in London before I got a flat. It is a super-chic design hotel, but comfortable and sexy. It is perfect for a romantic trip."

Room for One Neighborhood ViewYou don't want to know how much this bathtub cost! Another shot of the street & Blakes exteriorLove South Kensington

Friday Links to Love & Our Christmas Card!


Our 2011 Christmas Card! This is all Andy. He drew the map--I'm the red line and he's the green line and clearly we have been all over the world this year. What a crazy, wonderful, insane 12 months.

This week, I've been finishing up work assignments and enjoying my last week in NYC before heading back to Arizona for Christmas. We live near Washington Square Park and I never get sick of my "commute" through this park, especially during Christmas time.

I always bake gingerbread and watch Christmas movies with my aunt that lives in Connecticut.  When she came to the city Wednesday, I took her up to the massive Cathedral of Saint John the Divine because she had never seen it. I loved this origami Christmas tree in the cathedral.

And I loved these decorations on townhouses on 9th and 10th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenues in the Village.

Also this week, I loved:

  • Melissa Biggs Bradley is the founder of Indagare and was the travel editor at Town & Country for many years. She is a travel inspiration and I loved this piece that she wrote on visiting Cuba this year.  It's high on my list, especially after reading her post.
  • Did you download GOOP's first app, a guide to New York City? I like it. Available at the App Store for $3.99. I also loved Gwyneth's recap of her trip to Beijing last week.
  • Luxury and hostel? Two words that definitely don't go together. But I loved Habitat for Hermanity interviewing the owner of a great, clean, centrally located hostel in L.A. Herman is a great videoblogger and has now introduced me to a wonderful inexpensive option for L.A. travelers.
  • I saw Hugo this week and it's a beautiful movie that makes me want to hop on the next flight to Paris.